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View Diary: Wind power: birds, landscapes and availability (I) (128 comments)

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  •  It's all about the specific context. (4.00)
    In some places birds are at greater risk.  So, as we begin to develope wind farms, we must be sure to do the approriate studies at each site.  Sites along migratory routes and certain landscape configurations tend to have higher mortality.  In North America, many migratory routes are very concentrated, birds funnel into narrow "streams".  Part of the solution there is to temporarily shut the turbines down during peak migration.

    At this point you can't cite a few studies and extrapolate.  Each situation is unique. And as Jerome points out, each project requires a comprehensive assessment.

    It's not just birds that are effected.  Bats may be more sensitive than birds.

    Source During the last couple of years, biologists discovered significant bat kills associated with wind turbines, especially in forested upland areas similar to the Penobscot Mountain site," said Dr. Howard Whidden, assistant professor of biology at East Stroudsburg University.

    ...snip...

    "It's only been a couple of years since we realized wind turbines can impact bats," he said. "It's a particular concern because bats live quite long and have a low reproductive rate. A new mortality factor can really impact populations."

    I am very supportive of wind energy, I make part of my living as a consulant for wind farms.  I believe we need to go into this with our eyes wide open.  The bird issue is not a closed case.

    There are other impacts on the environment from wind farms.  The most important being access roads that have an effect on wetlands and habitat fragmentation.  This a greater concern in forested landscapes and less important in the plain states.

    Overall, the effects of wind energy are far less then other sources of energy.  However, let's not let that keep us from attending to the negative environemtnal consequences that they do have.

    We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb

    by petewsh61 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 11:38:21 AM PDT

    •  Dug this up from a previous comment I made. (none)
      Thought it might interest some of you.

      "The effects are not limited to direct collisions with turbines.  They include displacement of birds from areas near turbines, barriers to movement, loss of habitat, habitat fragmentation, and direct hits.  Birdlife has released an interesting report on these issues in Europe.  There conclusions and recommendations would also to apply to North America."

      Hopefully we can develop a regulatory frameowrk in the US that takes these issues into account.

      We do not inherit the earth from our ancestors, we borrow it from our children. ~Native American Proverb

      by petewsh61 on Mon Jul 11, 2005 at 12:05:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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